Get Him To The Greek

June 24, 2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Sometimes during my tenure as blogger, I will go see Hollywood blockbusters with artists and document, in impressionistic fashion, our experience. This is episode one.


I went to go see Get Him To The Greek (2010, dir. Nicholas Stoller) with the poet Evan Kennedy. We saw it at the mall. I got there a little early and after buying our tickets I played a high pace 3-D speedboat racing game. Evan got distracted by menswear but was still on time by California standards. We watched the movie.

After we saw Get Him To The Greek we walked up to my favorite bar in the Tenderloin, where we had a beer and talked critically and personally about our experience. Here’s a little bit of what this involved.

We talked about the particularly awkward threesome in Get Him To The Greek and how the pre-threesome-negotiation seems to be a preferred vehicle for making the threesome trope in culture inevitably awkward. We talked about Bergman’s Scenes From A Marriage. We talked about how Aldous Snow (played by Russell Brand) sort of assumes the role of couple’s counselor but then ends up effectively orchestrating a threesome. We agreed that if Russell Brand was in Bergman’s Scenes From A Marriage this would be really odd.

We talked about the critical moment in the film being the one in which Aaron Green(played by Jonah Hill) finally gets Aldous to the Greek and all of the implications of this watershed moment in American cinema. About how Aaron finally denies the subsumption to pop culture which has guided all of his actions heretofore. We talked about how Aaron abandons pop at this moment and finally embraces the real. We talked about how “the real” in the film appears as pure compromise and deference to the goals of capital.

We talked about how possibly one should not meet ones heroes.  We talked about how possibly one should not drink 200 year old absinthe with one’s heroes and party. We talked about how the show was a 10th Anniversary show. We talked about how the Sex Pistols go on tour and whether or not they spit on people still. Since part of the sign “The Sex Pistols” includes the manufactured recreation of a spectacle which is as much a part of their legend as records. We talked about how one of us saw Iggy Pop not too long ago and how although the spectacle is orchestrated there are still opportunities for surprising action taking place.

We talked about what negative parts of our personalities would fully emerge if we got hugely famous. We speculated that it would probably involve substance abuse. We speculated about whether it would involve various modes of sexual libertinism and we agreed that the answer was possibly, but that it was complicated, and that we each had slightly different desires vis a vis potentially activating that libertinism in this fantasy but we both agreed that the power groupie thing was yucky and undesirable period.

We talked about times in our own lives when we had done something similar to what Aaron does in Get Him To The Greek. We talked about older, famous artists and poets we had had had to steward in some way and the pompous and ridiculous things they had said and done.

I have a drink with the poet Evan Kennedy after seeing "Get Him To The Greek". Smoking is bad for you.

We talked about why Aaron is always puking and how it’s like a meta-gag since it’s just a gag that consists of this guy, well, gagging. We talked about how there was a lot of content in the film that was for gags and sometimes we thought they were kind of funny but we talked about this one that was really not very funny and not worthwhile as a gag. We talked about how they did all this work for this one gag to make the pun “Hairy-oke”.

We talked about how in Get Him To The Greek a lot of things go up the ass and come out of the mouth so it’s like the inverse of nutrition.  

We talked about the trope of the “furry walls” in the film. And how there was all this recurrent imagery of sleep and sleeplessness and how pop never sleeps but also how pop is narcotic and puts everyone to sleep. And how pop is like the furry walls.


  1. Max Batt Says:

    Very strange topic for a SF Moma blog.

  2. Brandon Brown Says:

    Hi Max,

    Thanks for your comment. Would you want to say more about why you think it’s a strange topic?


  3. Brent Cunningham Says:


    I also hope you talked about how the movie was incoherent and a turd. It was so terrible at structuring its plot or characters into something worth the viewer’s mildest concern that it almost became interesting as evidence of how very basic storytelling skills aren’t required anymore to make movies. Like: it doesn’t matter if a movie can’t decide if its a comedy or a drama and zags back and forth bewilderingly, it doesn’t matter if the goal of a quest film is confusingly empty and banal (from the beginning there’s no reason to care if this guy gets Brand to the Greek theater or not since the movie can’t decide if our schlub hero/anti-hero should or shouldn’t keep his job or his girlfriend or even what his problem is), and it clearly doesn’t matter if the characters have no believable consistency whatsoever (i.e. sometimes Brand is a superficial target of satire, sometimes he’s the deepest character in the film; and then there’s that amazing shift in the character of Jonah Hill’s girlfriend from suddenly asserting she wants to do a threesome to equally suddenly being weirded out by it and snapping back to her wide-eyed innocent role–with both she and her boyfriend suddenly blaming Brand’s character for somehow instigating what she had instigated moments earlier–well, really, I think it was the most unnatural, unexplained and pointless shift in a character I may have ever seen in a film). I did think the one interesting thing in the film was that Brand’s character is supposedly on massive drugs the whole time yet is exactly the same coherent, confident and witty individual the whole time (except for the one moment he’s supposedly not on drugs). But that could also be chalked up to Brand’s lack of range as an actor.



  4. Brandon Brown Says:

    Hi Brent!

    I try and never miss an opportunity to use the word “turd,” but I admit that I did often find myself derailing tendencies towards conventional evaluation. I really like your synopsis of the moment in the threesome. We did discuss, although I didn’t preserve it in the blog post, that the film felt at times like it might have been shot from a first draft of a script. Does that sound right to you too?

    Also, and I’m not making assumptions, I’ve considered since seeing it that perhaps it is a cultural artifact best experienced while one is herself on drugs, especially of the kind that dispose one towards laughter. I am not advocating drug use on the SFMOMA blog. I am just saying.


  5. konrad Says:

    If i might suggest the point of view of the entertainment-industrial complex: No movie with that much fundi^H^H^H^H^H publicity budget would have been shot without a committee, perhaps serially composed, of script editors. You have to think of a Hollywood script like a Hollywood body: many enhancements. Too many and it gets ugly.

    That might go some way to explaining why a blog reader would have a question about why this post on this site. Art implies authorship in the museum context (Marina Abramowitz notwithstanding), yet Hollywood is a team sport.

  6. Stephanie Syjuco Says:

    LURV your post. It’s not so much of a movie review as it is a reflection of the myriad conversations and tangents that stemmed from its viewing, and that is sweeeet. This blog is as much about processing general visual culture (i.e. Hollywood movies) as it is about riffing on or talking about “high” art. Next time you go to the mall to see a big Hollywood movie, I’d love to go with you. I, for one, enjoy a good Apatow-ish flick for all the bizarre cultural commentary it conjures :)

  7. Cliff Says:

    When I saw this movie I left my thesaurus and my encyclopedia on my desk.

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